By Adeola Atanda
Muhammed Bello, Minister of Federal Capital Territory, (FCT) has faced a barrage of criticisms for imposing a ban on protest in the city.
The FCT administration, on Thursday, 15 October, 2020 announced the ban, citing non-compliance to COVID-19 protocols by protesters.
In his comment made to ThePUNCH, Olufemi Lawson, Executive Director of the Centre for Public Accountability, said the ban “is unconstitutional, illegal, invalid, null, void and of no effect whatsoever and should be disregarded in its entirety”.
He explained that “only the President can invoke the Quarantine Act under Section 4. While FCT is under President’s control, its minister cannot stand as a surrogate to invoke Quarantine Act.”
Similarly, lawyer-activist Abdul Mahmud said the Presidential Regulation 2020 promulgated by President Buhari Under Section 4 of the Quarantine Act 2004 had expired in June when the lockdown was lifted. Until a new regulation is made by (President) Buhari this prohibition is illegal.”
Asserting the right of citizens to protest, Malachy Ugwummadu, a former President of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, (CDHR) described the FCTA’s statement as unconstitutional and ill-advised, noting that Nigerians have right, under Section 39 of the Constitution, to protest.
Equally, a lawyer Pelumi Olajengbesi reportedly issued a 24-hour ultimatum to the minister to reverse the ban or false legal action.